Sunday, April 18, 2010

Class size and the number of teachers in Cheshire

Class size is a concern for many.

Average class size is a pretty simple formula: total students / total teachers.

So in an effort to shed some light on the recent historic numbers - and while acknowledging the past when school boards couldn't count how many teachers we have - I offer some the numbers here in the first of a three part series. Here are the number of teachers (a.k.a. certified staff) in the Cheshire Public Schools over the past decade:The sheet "as of June 2005" was the Superintendent's post-Council vote budget for the 2005/2006 school year. And the sheet "as of January 2010" is the Superintendent's pre-BOE vote budget for the 2010/2011 school year. So although they look similar, they were snapshots of two different moments in the annual budget process. Therefore, I offer a possible explanation of some obvious discrepancies...

You'll notice some differences in the 2005/06 staffing numbers between the two sheets. I presume those changes were made between June 2005 (BOE budget adopted) and September 2005 (start of school)... and that they were possible because of things like teacher retirements. For example, a 30 year teacher may make $90,000/yr and give his/her notice in August 2005. Then the Super can go hire two new teachers, each for $45,000/yr... again... that's just an illustration of what may have allowed the staffing numbers to increase by 13 (615 to 628) in just three months.

Next I'll post the student population, then do the calculation and show the average class size over the past decade.

Tim White

94 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm waiting to see - - ALL I am concerned about at this point is class size. I'll move onto the other issues later, now - for me, it's all about how class size will impact my special needs child starting a new school. Someone, please explain to me how this is going to work.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if your special needs child is in special ed, but if so, then the school system has to follow the PPT and provide the services outlined in it. Special ed services are mandated by the state. As far as I understand it, the BoE cannot take money away from those services.

Anonymous said...

thats the problem,he is not 'severe' enough to qualify for services going forward, other then speech which is in the IEP. a blessing, and a curse, these are the children that fall thru the crack with a larger class.

retired teacher said...

When I attended Chapman in the late 50's/ early 60's, there were 25-30 kids in each class. Still, we did well because we were focused. There were no distractions or disruptions. There was no constant, instant media, the school enforced discipline, and the parents supported it. This was the norm in America just two generations ago, and is still the norm in most of the world today.

Student focus and motivation, along with high parental expectations, involvement, and discipline, are still the keys to student achievement. I’m convinced of this from my experience both as a student and as an elementary teacher.

Small class size is overrated. (I’m speaking of regular kids, not special needs). The primary factor in students’ success in school still lies with the parents who can begin by severely restricting or eliminating distractions like TV, social media, and electronic gadgets (just say NO), and making sure that the child’s main focus in life is on living, eating, and breathing his/her school work.

Anonymous said...

it's not overrated, it's a proven fact that a smaller ratio promotes better learning. look it up. we are not in 1950 anymore - "when you know better you do better" we know better now

retired teacher said...

"it's a proven fact that a smaller ratio promotes better learning"

Most of those studies accept as given that students' attention is short and distracted, and that parental involvement is limited -- both of which are social factors which are changeable, not inevitable.

Students in Catholic schools generally do better despite larger class sizes and lower-paid teachers because of the stricter school environment, stricter and more involved parents, and minimum distractions to students.

My point is that smaller class size is not the only way to ensure student success. And in these hard economic times, when taxpayers rightly want to slow the growth of school spending, one option is for parents to compensate in some of the ways I suggested. “Schools can't raise children; only parents can raise children” (Bill Clinton).

“When you know better, you do better.” Ah yes, I heard this lingo in one of the last teacher workshops I took. But do we really know better now than we did in the 1950’s?

The average 8th grader in the 1950’s was all-around better educated than the average high school grad today, despite larger class sizes back then. What were schools, parents, and students doing in the 1950’s that worked, and that we are no longer doing today?

Anonymous said...

" making sure that the child’s main focus in life is on living, eating, and breathing his/her school work."
that would make for one very sad childhood. It's proven that PLAY makes for better learning, and healthier well rounded children, you need to research before you post nonsense thats 100% WRONG

retired teacher said...

"It's proven that PLAY makes for better learning, and healthier well rounded children"

Obviously I wasn't excluding play or quality social activities. I was speaking in the context of the words immediately preceding "living, eating, and breathing his/her school work" --

"parents can begin by severely restricting or eliminating distractions like TV, social media, and electronic gadgets (just say NO)..."
(I'll add that none of these are quality play or quality social activities).

Anonymous said...

1:02
You sound like one of those parents who lets their kids rule their lives.
I have 2 children and I make sure they are not totally into video games, TV, and cell phones.
There are way too many distractions for kids. I find that many parents will get their kids the latest and greates electronic decice to keep up with their friends.
Texting is the biggest problem I see. Why do 3rd graders need phones? Why do 8th graders need phones? Aren't these kids usually with adults?
It is a cop out for a parent to say they got their kid a phone for emergencies only. Next thing you know, they are sending out 6000 texts a month.
I agree with retired teacher, it is up to the parents to control their kids and the amoung of distractions they have.
No, it's not 1950, but that doesn't mean you have to make sure your kid has all the latest and greatest gadgets.
I wonder if 1:02 sits down with his/her kids and makes sure they get their reading and homework done each night? Or are they running them between 3 different soccer leagues and keeping them up till 11:00??

Anonymous said...

i'm a parent too, and agree with retired teacher. no way my 5th grader needs to text. she whined about how 'unfair' it was, how all her friends have one, etc, but I am not her friend, i'm her father.

retired teacher asks a really good question:
What were schools, parents, and students doing in the 1950’s that worked, and that we are no longer doing today?

maybe this question should be the starting point of discussion about schools, NOT the assumption that we have to spend more, buy smartboards, give teachers 13% raises, etc

Anonymous said...

RE: 13% teacher pay raise

The teachers union and their spendaholic supporters have no one but themselves to blame for the impending teacher layoffs. First they demanded the 4+% annual raises (oink oink), then they refused to consider concessions (oink, oink, oink). So now the pigs, er chickens, come home to roost.

Anonymous said...

"You sound like one of those parents who lets their kids rule their lives."

WHAT?? really? My kids are very well rounded, I would NEVER let them havea cell before at middle school and they do not own any video games. I am talking about REAL interactive, kid-play, not media crap.

that was a really stupid comment to make.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if 1:02 sits down with his/her kids and makes sure they get their reading and homework done each night? Or are they running them between 3 different soccer leagues and keeping them up till 11:00??
FYI - my kids are only allowed to do ONE activity at a time, we read for an hour a day and they do thier homework when they get home before they PLAY outside. keeping them up till 11pm?? where does that fit into this? my kids are in bed by 8. Another nonsense comment that had no bearing on the conversation. ass

Anonymous said...

Larger class sizes are not going to "hurt" our children in the Cheshire school system. Many folks get fooled into thinking that in a class size of 22, for example, there's a single teacher. That single teacher has help in the form of teaching assistants (as many as are needed based on the needs of the children). The teachers also utilize interns and parent volunteers. Ask to visit any of the elementary classes and you'll see at least one parent helping either with Math, Reading, Computer and/or Computer labs as well as library. This is in addition to part-time interns that supplement the teachers.

So raising the class size from 18 to 22 students is not going to have a dire effect on the children despite with the Pollyanna superintendent says.

As for Tim's teachers-students numbers...they mean absolutely nothing. What Tim needs to do is get a starting and ending school year breakdown of teacher by student by specific class. Because it will show silly things like the Credited Year Book class (yes, this is true) at CHS with 1 teacher and 6 students vs. a Math Level II class with 1 teacher and 15 students. This should also be broken down by period. Only then will anyone have a true picture of where our teachers are being utilized and whether or not class sizes are appropriate.

Additionally, somebody needs to explain why we have so many assistant principals at CHS. Granted, they are administrators but they should be able to oversee various departments and eliminate department heads altogether.

As for extra-curricular activities...they are just that EXTRA. Cheshire is not mandated nor is it required to provide extra-curricular activities. As far as I can tell we are still providing too many extra-curricular activities with this new budget. It's amazing that some parents would rather save sports as opposed to saving a few teaching positions. Shameful really.

As for those parents crying that their kids are going to spend more time in study hall at CHS because of teacher reductions let me put this as simply as I can: How can any parent allow their child to spend too much time in a study hall as opposed to encouraging them to take more core educational classes? It's not going to hurt a child to take an extra math and or science class as opposed to sitting in study hall texting. And yes, apparently there is plenty of room left in reading, literature, science and math class at CHS even with this new budget. If there are going to be more kids in study halls next year it will be because the parents failed them and schools/teachers are no substitutes for parents.

Anonymous said...

RE: Class Size--then why not move to Maine, Vermont or North Dakota; bet their class sizes are small. Does that solve your problem?

Also, don't tout your "Parenting" skills too much until your kids are into their 20's; you'll find there is an awful lot you can't control....

Anonymous said...

"As for extra-curricular activities...they are just that EXTRA. Cheshire is not mandated nor is it required to provide extra-curricular activities. As far as I can tell we are still providing too many extra-curricular activities with this new budget. It's amazing that some parents would rather save sports as opposed to saving a few teaching positions. Shameful really."

YES YES YES !!! agreed 100%

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Anonymous said...

LOL - - yes, the spelling/typos on this site IS the most important part of this conversation, you sad sad ASS, so so sad, I hope you are just a troll and not an actual parent......take care happy one :)

Anonymous said...

For perspective, in 2005-2006, all three 6th grade classrooms at Chapman had 26-27 students.

retired teacher said...

More educational spending does not equal greater student achievement.

Some of the highest spending per-pupil states are among the lowest achieving in average SAT scores.

Examples (by Spending Rank/ SAT Rank):
Vermont (1/29), New Jersey (3/36), New York (4/46), RI (6/38), Conn. (8/30), Mass. (10/27), Delaware (11/42), Penn. (12/43), DC (13/51). [Note: Per-pupil spending ranks are based on dollar figures adjusted for regional differences].

Conversely, some of the lowest spending per-pupil states are among the highest achieving in SAT scores. Examples include Iowa (43/1), Minn. (30/3), Missouri (32/4), Illinois (34/5), SD (20/7), Kentucky (38/11), Oklahoma (32/12).

(SAT results are only one measure of student success, but they are an important measure).

It seems that most of the higher spending/ lower achieving states are urban and suburban states, while most of the lower spending/ higher achieving states are rural.

Students in rural states probably have many fewer distractions and much greater parental expectations, involvement, and discipline than their peers in urban and suburban states. The same is generally true about Asian countries and families, which is why their children thrive. Again, the key to student success is not spending or class size, but the parents.

Not all Cheshire families can move to Iowa, but parents can create cultures of focused, disciplined learning within their homes.

And don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to your kids. Your job is to ensure their longterm needs, not their fleeting wants.

Tim White said...

making sure that the child’s main focus in life is on living, eating, and breathing his/her school work

1:02... if Retired Teacher said it should be the "exclusive" focus, instead of the "main" focus, I could see your point. But why is it sad to focus on studies before playing?

Anonymous said...

so retired teacher, when can you come out of retirement and replace dr. florio as super't of schools?

Anonymous said...

tim, once you have children of your own, who are school aged, get back to me - your views on EVERYTHING will change like you can't imagine. I think it should be a prerequisite, if you are making monetary decisions about our children's future, you should have a dog in the fight.

Anonymous said...

11:56-"...I think it should be a prerequisite, if you are making monetary decisions about our children's future,..."

What a smart idea. Amazingly it is one that should not even be discussed unless one believes that school expenses should only be paid by families who have children in the school system. That would certainly change the political landscape. If the whiners were no longer helping to spend other peoples money things would change fast.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1156: Agree! only parents of school kids get to vote and PAY for schools. Finally most of us get a tax break!

Anonymous said...

Only parents pay for schools? Well, who paid for you? It wasn't only your parents!! Let's have real community pride and involvment with our schools. Let's figure out how to best educate the kids without going bankrupt and then praise the hard working teachers and love and support the kids..that's a community!

Anonymous said...

I think we SHOULD privatize the schools, if your kids go to cheshire schools - pay up, if not, you get a break. if you can't afford to pay for the schools, move out. works for me, I have 4 kids and I'd gladly pay 4 times the amount of taxes to have them well educated, in smaller classrooms in this town, I love cheshire and hate that we are thinking of moving.

Anonymous said...

"Students in Catholic schools generally do better despite larger class sizes"

My child goes to a Catholic high school in this area. The average class size is 12.

As to the SAT ranks by state, nice try joker. The state's which you correctly state have a high rank have a minuscule participation rate. In Iowa, number one in your ranking, FOUR PERCENT of the students take the SAT. Missouri and Oklahoma have a 6 percent participation rate and Illinois has an 8 percent participation rate. Minnesota has a 9 percent rate.

The state's with higher per pupil costs and lower SAT rank have SAT participation rates in the 70, 80 and 90 percent ranges.

How disingenuous can you be?

Anonymous said...

RE: Only parents pay for schools? Well, who paid for you? It wasn't only your parents!!

Correct, which is why 11:56 is wrong to say that Tim's concerns about school spending are somehow invalid because he doesn't have kids in school. We're ALL paying for the schools.

Anonymous said...

st bridgets have 30 kids in a class in some grades, 1 teacher. but check out thier test scores, not impressive.

Kenny McCormick said...

"Correct, which is why 11:56 is wrong to say that Tim's concerns about school spending are somehow invalid because he doesn't have kids in school. We're ALL paying for the schools."

These parents need to realize that we're ALL paying for little Johnny and Susie to go to Cheshire schools. We are the majority of taxpayers in this town, including businesses. When they get up in front of the TC and yell "Raise my taxes" they're hurting everyone else but themselves. What kind of example does that set for their children?

retired teacher said...

To Anon. 9:37

If your child’s average class size in a Catholic HS is 12, that’s the exception. Most Catholic parish schools (not elite schools) have large class sizes.

If we look at the states where only majorities of HS students take the SAT (eliminating low participating SAT states), we still see the same pattern…

(Rank per-pupil spending/ Rank of SAT scores):
Vermont (1/29), New Jersey (3/36), New York (4/46), RI (6/38), Conn. (8/30), Mass. (10/27), Delaware (11/42), Penn. (12/43), DC (13/51).

You are correct that in some states, most students do not take the SAT. However, in those states most students do take the ACT (American College Test). In the states where most HS students take the ACT, we still see the same pattern…

(Rank per-pupil spending/ Rank of combined ACT/SAT scores):
Iowa (43/1), Minn. (30/2), Kansas (21/4), ND (17/6), Utah (51/7), Missouri (32/9), Illinois (34/13).

So the data still proves my points: More educational spending does not equal greater student achievement.

Some of the highest spending per-pupil states are among the lowest achieving in average SAT scores, and some of the lowest spending per-pupil states are among the highest achieving in ACT & SAT scores. Nothing disingenuous about these FACTS.

Anonymous said...

retired teacher, you can't reason with the unreasonable who prefer cliches over "facts" in furtherance of their self-interests (like 13% raises)

retired teacher said...

10:58 - you're right, but I think most Cheshire residents are reasonable and will consider facts.

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher -- you pretty much got busted. Nice try comparing SAT scores of states with radically different levels of participation.

Anonymous said...

"Students in rural states probably have many fewer distractions and much greater parental expectations, involvement, and discipline than their peers in urban and suburban states."

You're right. Trailer parks are definitely the great centers of learning in the U.S.

retired teacher said...

Anon 12:18 - Bullcrap.
My 10:42 post accurately presents data from states where majorities of HS students take either the SAT or the ACT.
I challenge you to prove my 10:42 post wrong.

Rank by state for per-pupil spending:
http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/01/29/state-rankings-on-education-spending.aspx

Rank & participation level by state for SAT:
http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/08/25/state-sat-scores-2009.aspx

Rank by state for ACT & SAT scores combined:
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/Ftrials/states/USCHARTsat.html

Participation level by state for ACT:
http://www.act.org/news/data/09/states.html

retired teacher said...

12:22 said, "Trailer parks are definitely the great centers of learning in the U.S."

The people of Iowa, Minn, Kansas, North Dakota, and Missouri are more likely to be FARMERS and small shop owners than trailer park dwellers, you SNOB.

And their higher test scores for less money, along with their very low crime rates, speaks to their higher level of civility.

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher -- Busted again. Table three (combined ACT/SAT scores) is from 1999. You're comparing 1999 scores to 2009 spending rankings.

Were you this dishonest when you taught in the classroom?

Anonymous said...

12:22 said, "Trailer parks are definitely the great centers of learning in the U.S."

Spoken like an elitist Big Spending Liberal ...
they supposedly want to help the disadvantaged, but really they look down their noses at them.

Anonymous said...

12:58. Maybe the poster could have used more tact, but the point is not incorrect. You can't seriously think rural sections of the country -- whether farm areas or just very poor parts -- are to be emulated when it comes to intellectual vibrancy?

Or do you?

retired teacher said...

Here are the ACT scores by state for 2009:
http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=1439

Still the same results: the lowest-spending rural states get the highest scores (with usually 60-80% of HS grads taking the ACT in those states).

You still haven't disproven these facts.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
st bridgets have 30 kids in a class in some grades, 1 teacher. but check out thier test scores, not impressive.

April 20, 2010 10:14 AM


And where are you getting your facts from?
I have 2 kids in St. Bridghets and 1 has 18 kids and the other has 23 kids. What class has 30?

What scores are you comparing? Do you know that a student from St. Bridgets got a free ride to Xavier for getting the top score on the entrance exam?
I took my kids out of the Cheshire school system because the teachers that they ahd were not able to control the classes and came out and told us that they teach to the CMT's. From the beginning of the school year, they are being taught how to score well on the CMT's.
It took my kids about a half year to catch up to the level at St. Bridget's.
The teachers at this school are incredible and are willing to do whatever they can to help the students. They aren't in it for the money (they certainly didn't get a 4.4% increase for the next 3 years). They are willing to come in early and stay late. I never had any of my kids public school teachers offering that.
Please reveal where you are getting 30 kids to a class and what their test scores are.

By the way, the average per child cost to educate a student at a parochial school in the Hartford diocese is $4,600 while it is $12,000 for public school student in Cheshire.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, the average per child cost to educate a student at a parochial school in the Hartford diocese is $4,600 while it is $12,000 for public school student in Cheshire."

That per-pupil figure of $4,600 isn't for Catholic high schools too, is it? If it is - my kid's school has some serious explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

130 and retired teacher confirm what most of us know, that Catholic and midwestern schools generally do more with less $$, largely because of their higher disciplinary and academic standards.

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher -- How many times are you going to have to adjust your argument after being exposed for dishonesty?

The first post compared SAT scores without regard to participation.

When you were called out on that, you added ACT scores to SAT scores.

But your second post compared 1999 scores with 2009 spending levels.

When you were called out on that, you added a comparison of just states' ACT scores.

Now, here is the problem with your third try: You have to click the link to the scores for all 50 states to see that - apart from DC - the lowest scores belong to states that spend among the lowest per pupil, such as Kentucky and Mississippi.

You'd also see that Connecticut students score better on ACT than any of those low-spending states you've been comparing them to.

And Connecticut has a much higher ACT participation rate (21 percent) than the SAT participation rate (4-9 percent) of the towns you were using in your first bogus post (the first of three bogus posts for those keeping score).

You're 0 for 3. That's an F. It's summer school for you, bub.

Anonymous said...

I looked into st bridgets for my kids, I was so unimpressed, with everything from the teachers to the class size....but - there ARE some really awesome private schools around here - so far, Cheshire public schools have done a great job for my kids, we'll see how it goes over the next year or so. my kids are very young, I may feel the need to pull them in a year or so.

Anonymous said...

1:50
SO sorry yo hear you had a bad experience at Sty. Bridgets. You may have caught them on a bad day.
I still feel it is better fit for my kids and they are excelling there.
What didn't you like about the class size and teachers though?
It is not 30 students to a class like a previous poster said.
here are some facts that I got from the Connecticut Federation of Catholic Parents Web Site.

Catholic Schools in Connecticut

Number of Catholic Schools: 134

Enrollment: 37,500

Average Cost Per Pupil in Catholic Schools: $4,755

Average Cost Per Pupil in Connecticut’s Public School: $12,336

Savings for Taxpayers of Connecticut: $430 Million

Minority Enrollment: 5,846 – 16%

Student Teacher Ratio: 12 to 1

Graduation Rates of Catholic High Schools: 99%

Enough of those saying there are larger classes at St. Bridget's. There may be a few more per class than the average CHeshire class size, but it isn't concerning to me. I know my chidren are getting a very good, rounded education. It is unfortunate that we also have to support the public schools in CHeshire, but that is the way our government works and we have to seal with it.

retired teacher said...

Anon. 1:44, at this point you’re just obfuscating with extraneous nonsense. I’ll summarize my points for the other readers, and let you get the last word; I have other things to do today.

If we look at only the states where majorities of HS students take the SAT and/or ACT, we see that higher amounts spent per student do not lead to higher achievement.

(Rank per-pupil spending/ Rank of SAT scores - 2009):
Vermont (1/29), New Jersey (3/36), New York (4/46), RI (6/38), Conn. (8/30), Mass. (10/27), Delaware (11/42), Penn. (12/43), DC (13/51).

And
(Rank per-pupil spending/ Rank of ACT scores - 2009):
Minn. (30/1), Iowa (43/2), ND (17/5), Kansas (21/7), Utah (51/8), Missouri (32/10), Illinois (34/13).

So the facts are that some of the highest spending per-pupil states are among the lowest achieving in SAT/ACT scores, and conversely, that some of the lowest spending per-pupil states are among the highest achieving in SAT/ACT scores.

Rank by state for per-pupil spending (2009):
http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/01/29/state-rankings-on-education-spending.aspx

Rank & participation level by state for SAT (2009):
http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/08/25/state-sat-scores-2009.aspx

Rank by state for ACT scores (2009):
http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=1439

Participation level by state for ACT (2009):
http://www.act.org/news/data/09/states.html

So you get the last word; obfuscate away!

Anonymous said...

I too looked into St Bridgets 3 years ago, while I loved the actual school building and all, we did not like the overall philosophy of the principal at all. We sat in on 2 classes, that were huge, about 25 kids
(about 1/2 who were rowdy and disrespectful) - etc. My son at highland has had 14 kids with an aid in the class, and this year - 16 kids with 2 aids, and the most wonderful, caring, devoted teachers. I guess we have been very fortunate. I know the next few years might be a little different, we may have to revisit private school, but it will not likely be St B's.

Anonymous said...

btw - my sons at highland are in 2nd and 4th grade and reading at 6th and 9th grade levels AND off the charts academically, so highland, IMO, has done a stellar job. However, I have so many friends that are so unhappy at doolittle and chapman, so I suppose it could just be luck of district.

Anonymous said...

2:45
I appreciate you trying to make your kids sound so brilliant, but to bash St. B's that way is not fair. I am thrilled that your kids can read at theat level, but it isn't because of the fine teaching that they get at their school, it is because you take the time to make sure they read and I am sure you help ed them from a very young age. Good Job.
I can take you into any public school classroom and show you how disruptive that could be as well.Believe me, I was in many disruptive classrooms when I visited my kids rooms in the public schools.
I suppose you are also one of the ones complaining about the budget not getting enough money, yet your kids are in classes with 14-16 kids???? 2 Aids?? That is why we are paying so much. Why would a teacher with 16 kids need 2 aids??
25 kids in a class is not considered a huge class, but very few at St. B's has that many. Most have less than that.
The teachers at St. B's will not put up up with disruptive students, so I know that is just something you felt the need to say. Totally off base with that. Parents send their kids their for the discipline and if the kids are not well behaved they will not be in that school for long.Unlike a public school, where no matter how bad the kids are, they have to keep them.

By the way, my children are also reading well above their grade level as well as learning a foreign language. They have teachers that are more caring and devoted then they did when they were in the public school system. And they can teach without needing 2 aids.

Anonymous said...

just an FYI for those claiming that St. Bridgets has 25 to 30 kids in a class.
There are just over 400 students with 23 teachers. If you average that the way the public schools do, that would come out to a 17.4 student average class size.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you feel the need to defend st b's so hard . If you thought they were so wonderful , that would be unecessary.
Take care!

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to bash st B's -I'm sure some love it, it's just not my cup of tea, personally, if I were paying these high taxes and didn't send my kids to the wonderful public schools here
(which is why most ppl with school aged kids move here), I'd feel like a stooge. I'd never pay these high taxes, (lets face it - there is not much here besides the good schools) AND pay for private school, I'd move to a surrounding town, like prospect, pay less and do the private school thing. Yep, love the the extra aids in the classes for the special needs kids, I assume St B's doesn't "accept" spec. needs students though. can't have any "distractions", right?
to each his/her own though. good luck!

Anonymous said...

If the size of classes and cost per student really were the issue then all of you complaining parents would move to Newark, NJ. They spend $22,000 per student per year, have a class size average of 21 and graduate only 40% of their students form high school.

So the the idea of more money spent per student is not correct, smaller class sizes does not work. The only reason you educrats move here is because there is no crime and the minority representation in the school system is low; plus we get the Jewish holidays off. If your going to complain at least have the backbone to stand up in public and state your real reasons. You are all cowards.

Anonymous said...

and why would we want to go to a school system that graduated only 40% of students? you tried to make a snide point, but sorry - it didn't work......

Anonymous said...

5:46
It is people like you that make this town so bad.
You move in for the education, let us all pay to educate your kids, but the minute they are done, you move out. Not willing to help other families.

You are so ignorant and you seem like a person who enjoys to trash a nice school lioke St. Bridgets

Imagine if that school didn't exist? You think your taxes are high now?

Get off your high horse and move out of this town if the only reason you are here is for the education, we don't need people l;ike you here.

Anonymous said...

oh jeez, the "you move here so we can educate your kids" line - wow, that is getting SO old, you need some new material. Take care, and go back to school to learn how to spell, will ya?

Anonymous said...

"It is people like you that make this town so bad."

if it's so bad - maybe YOU need to move out??

Anonymous said...

Retired Teacher, I looked up your sources for myself, and they are accurate. Your distractor has snipped at you but has not proven you wrong. He has his own agenda.

Washington DC has the 13th highest school spending in the country, yet finishes dead last in student scores. Utah has the lowest school spending in the country, yet finishes 8th highest in student scores.

It's obvious that the difference between DC and Utah students can't be explained by funding. Rather, the family and motivational factors you talk about are what make all the difference.

Anonymous said...

8:58 & 9:37
I am sure you are the same person.

You seem quite angry and I wonder if it is because the budget that Florio wanted wasn't passed or are you disappointed that the class sizes may increase?

Either way, you really should calm down before you have a heart attack over this.

You were quite angry with the earlier commentor who felt their children were getting a good education at another school in this town. Why does that matter to you? You seem quite impressed with what this town is doing for your children and that's all that should matter.

You, and many others, continue to spout about people moving to this town for the education system. I am sure that is part of it, but this town has an awful lot more to offer. I get tired of hearing from school parents that they only moved here for the education system. That is getting old.

I have a question for you though, will you move out when your kids are done getting educated? I hear some people say they want a higher budget for education, but they want the taxes lower. You can't have it both ways. I assume that if the TC allowed Florio's budget to go through and our mill rate went up, you would be happy. Then next year,we have to make up the $3 million we are losing, the same thing happens and we have to go up even more. Then in 2 years when we have to make up the $6 million we are losing from state funding, even higher mill rate.
By the time your kids are educated, the mill rate will be so high you will have trouble selling your home and won't be able to move out of this town because of the high taxes.

So, what do you really want?
I would love to hear your explanation.

Anonymous said...

7:35 You're as disingenuous as the old teacher. You refer to Utah's "test scores" when you write about their ACT scores. Here's a look at some of Utah's "test scores."


Utah's performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress ranks last among five other states with similar demographics, according to the report, "School Testing Results, 2006 & 2007: How Utah Compares to Other States."

The report examined the eighth-grade math and reading results issued earlier this fall with "The Nation's Report Card," and science test results issued in 2005, the most recent report available.

The NAEP also tests fourth-graders nationwide.

"Utah's school population has a lot of educational advantages, including low poverty rates and a high percent of parents who have graduated from college. With these advantages, a state like Utah is expected to score much higher than national averages."

The report suggests low per-student spending — peer states spent an average $8,251 per student, about $3,000 higher than Utah, the report states — teacher quality, curriculum, even cultural attitudes toward achievement could be factors. Kroes suggests Utah's class sizes, the highest in the country, also may be a factor.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares about Utah?

Lets keep our concerns to Cheshire.

Anonymous said...

It was not my intent to make snide remark, it was my intent to state my opinion. The people in tow that claim higher spending on a per pupil do not have a position that can be validated. In almost all other school systems where more money is spent on Cheshire students the scores are lower. When you confront these people and ask why do thy not move to Washington DC, Newark or Bridgeport they really do not have an answer. Here is the answer; they do not want there precious kids to be exposed to an environment that is heavily laden with minorities and crime. It is that simple.

Anonymous said...

8:58 "ask why do thy not move to Washington DC, Newark or Bridgeport"

What a nasty view of life. Reality is more like up until this particular time there were a number of employers local to this town which were able to attract and keep employees paid well enough to live in a town like this. Good jobs and not the schools keep families in a town.

Times are changing, the economy is changing and it would not be surprising to wake up one day to this town experiencing a significant population reduction because even more local employers decided that CT is just the worst state in the U.S. to try to conduct business.

If you think people wouldn't move to D.C. or even the Newark area for a job talk to some of the folks in our industrial park working at P&W. Whatever you do, don't listen to the greedy local teacher's union because they will certainly explain that it is because of their high salaries and concern for the children that people line up to move in.

retired teacher said...

Anon 2:34 - Your info about Utah actually confirms my point - high student spending and low class sizes are not nearly as important to student achievement as parental involvement and student motivation.

Utah is 51st in student spending, and has the largest class sizes in the US, yet they are near the top in achievement by numerous measures, including ACT.

Why is that? The report you provide cites “a high percent of (Utah) parents who have graduated from college” and that “cultural attitudes toward achievement could be factors.” Amen!

Cheshire’s demographics are comparable to Utah’s, and our students could do as well with less spending.

Anonymous said...

watching this debate between retired teacher and (current teacher??), it strikes me that
(1) when teachers unions say they need more money to better educate the children, BEWARE of their self-interest, and
(2) when a former teacher says the schools don't need as much money, there's probably no self-interest there.

I've also noticed that many of these "studies" offered by the educational establishment are not replicated, but are little more than untested theory and opinion parading as science. Tests like CAPT, SAT, and ACT, when taken by most students in a district, are harder, more accurate measures of learning.

Sandy Cheeks said...

So, Cheshire schools have performed admirably well considering we spend 136 out of 141 school districts in CT. We're able to score testing in the top 15% of schools in CT with modest investment in students. So what's the problem? We've consistently proven that the less we spend, the better our students perform. Don't change a thing.

Anonymous said...

RE: Cheshire "spent 136 out of 141 school districts in CT. We're able to score testing in the top 15% of schools in CT"

Bottom line: money does not make successful students, motivation and hard work does.

Anonymous said...

"We've consistently proven that the less we spend, the better our students perform. Don't change a thing."

You my friend are an idiot, a stupid stupid person. If we continue to CUT TEACHERS AND HAVE LARGER CLASSES AND CUT PROGRAMS YEAR AFTER YEAR, we will be in the bottom. what is WRONG with you people???? CAN YOU REALLY NOT SEE THE LONG TERM PICTURE HERE??? where did YOU go to school??? Did they not teach you math or economics?? obviously nowhere decent!!?? I hope you don't have children.

Anonymous said...

11:41 is oblivious to all the evidence presented on this page that more spending & smaller class size DO NOT mean better education. Another one who mindlessly parrots educratic cliches.

Cheshire is near the bottom in spending, but is in the top 15% in student scores. Sorry to bother your cliches with facts.

Anonymous said...

11:41

Are you aware that over the next 2 years we will lose $9 million in funding?
If we don't cut this year, we will be in worse shape the next 2 years. Less students means less teachers--PERIOD!

I have to agree with all the people on here who say learning begins at home. If you expect our teachers to be the sole educators of our children, then you are doing your children a dis-service.
Parents need to be as much a part of the learning process as the school system.

Spending more money to keep up with the other school systems will not mean better education. It is up to our teachers, administrators, parents and superintendent to make sure our children are getting the best education with what is provided by the town.

Breachway said...

11:41: If we continue to CUT TEACHERS AND HAVE LARGER CLASSES AND CUT PROGRAMS YEAR AFTER YEAR, we will be in the bottom. what is WRONG with you people
- we haven't been doing this. What if we only make the cuts for 2 years? I can't believe that people are putting one post after another to claim that more money means better education...

Breachway said...

Here is todays Hartford Courant...
http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-teacher-cuts-0422.artapr22,0,2444577.story

- all of Wallingfords cuts will only add a couple of kids to each class....

Anonymous said...

Retired geezer, I mean, teacher -

"Your info about Utah actually confirms my point - high student spending and low class sizes are not nearly as important to student achievement as parental involvement and student motivation."

Umm...what part of this don't you understand:

The report suggests low per-student spending — peer states spent an average $8,251 per student, about $3,000 higher than Utah, the report states — teacher quality, curriculum, even cultural attitudes toward achievement could be factors. Kroes suggests Utah's class sizes, the highest in the country, also may be a factor.

Low per-pupil spending and high classes sizes are factors in why Utah scores LOWER than states that are less affluent.

A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Anonymous said...

Hey 313, in most of your posts attacking Retired Teacher, you resort to name calling, 'old geezer', disingenuous, etc, while s/he sticks to points. Name calling is sign of weakness.

also, I notice all your previous posts were made during the school day. You shouldnt be promoting political views on the taxpayer's dime, and most schools prohbit personal use of school computers.

Anonymous said...

The real per student spending that resonates in this town is taking our education budget and diving it by the number of students. That's Cheshire's per student spending. Of course it's higher than the State's definition because the State equation excludes a number of categories. Which is really silly. But then again, it was created by the State Dept of Ed. Wolf watching the hen house.

If you geniuses did the math you'd realize that per student spending is actually going up in 2010-2011. Take the education budget and divide it by the number of projected students for 2010-2011. Compare that to the current (as well as last year's) education budget.

One of the BOE members told some parents (after the last BOE meeting) that next year could be as many as 50 teachers being reduced simply because of the $3M shortfall. Florio and others echoed that same sentiment. What will you do then?

"Cheshire is near the bottom in spending, but is in the top 15% in student scores. Sorry to bother your cliches with facts."

12:00pm is absolutely correct above. Don't change a darn thing, we have it really good with education. How can you misfits argue that spending more will generate better results when this town has clearly shown that being prudent has been best for the children?

Stop being greedy, your kids are not the most important group in this town. Don't like it, move. There are another 135 school districts in Cheshire that will gladly spend more of your money so your kid can score below the Top 15% in CT.

Anonymous said...

"Hey 313, in most of your posts attacking Retired Teacher, you resort to name calling, 'old geezer', disingenuous, etc, while s/he sticks to points. Name calling is sign of weakness."

...and they want more of our tax money for their kids. LMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher has yet to make a point that doesn't have a major flaw:

1. He tried to compare SAT scores of states that have radically different rates of SAT participation and thought no one would notice.

2. He tried to compare 1999 test scores with 2009 spending levels and thought that no one would notice.

3. He tried to make the point that low-spending states have high ACT scores while ignoring the fact that the lowest performing ACT states spend the least money and thought that no one would notice.

4. He argued that Utah is a high performing state despite low spending, even though the report clearly pointed out that Utah is a LOW-PERFORMING state because of LOW per-pupil spending and HIGH class sizes. And he hoped that no one would notice.

Look, this is just a message board on a harmless blog. The real crime is that this person once taught in a classroom.

There is one way he can redeem himself for the benefit of the greater community: STAY RETIRED.

Oh yeah, and stop wearing black socks with shorts.

Anonymous said...

there 558 goes again, repeating the same stuff that the former teacher already answered,
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

the crime is that 558 probably still teaches, puts his students to sleep, and drags down the test scores (all while enjoying a 13% raise!!). maybe HE should retire.

Anonymous said...

That's profound.

Anonymous said...

5:58 is getting repetitious and tiresome, not to mention he continues to personally insult Retired Teacher … “Oh yeah, and stop wearing black socks with shorts.”

retired teacher said...

To Anon. 5:58/ 3:13,
I did understand the point of the NAEP report regarding Utah. I simply used their same data to make a more significant, Bigger Point:

Utah is 51st in student spending, and has the largest class sizes in the US, yet they are near the top in achievement by numerous measures.

Why is that? The report you provide cites “a high percent of (Utah) parents who have graduated from college” and that “cultural attitudes toward achievement could be factors.” Amen!


The significance of that data is not limited to comparing Utah to four other states (which the authors conveniently selected to argue for more school funding). I think it’s valid to also compare the Utah data to other states, especially when so many states with low student spending produce high student scores, and vice-versa.

I’ve already addressed most of what you rehash in your 5:58 comments. The 1999 data which I previously inadvertently provided was replaced with 2009 data in my comments of April 20 at 2:36 (and the 2009 data did not change the results).

I stick by my conclusions of April 20 at 2:36, which for all of your obfuscation, you have failed to refute.

PS: I’m a she, not a he.

Anonymous said...

Retired Teacher, members of the teachers union hate you because you don't march in goosestep with the party line, gimme more money, gimme more ... Instead you talk about personal responsibility, motivation, and hard work. Gasp! imagine that!

Anonymous said...

I think 8:47 and retired teacher are the SAME person...GASP, I'm sure thats a big surprise to all.

Anonymous said...

"Utah is 51st in student spending, and has the largest class sizes in the US, yet they are near the top in achievement by numerous measures.

Why is that? The report you provide cites “a high percent of (Utah) parents who have graduated from college” and that “cultural attitudes toward achievement could be factors.” Amen!"

Retired teacher -

I had thought you were being disingenuous in all these deeply flawed posts.

Now I fear you're just not capable of understanding quasi-complex information.

The "“cultural attitudes toward achievement" you site was identified as being a reason why Utah has LOW test scores in many areas compared to lower-income states.

It wasn't a compliment. It was a criticism.

The point about a high percentage of Utah parents graduating from college was made to show that the LOW scores were likely a result of LOW PER-PUPIL SPENDING and HIGH CLASS SIZES - not the result of home environments that are non-conducive to learning.

The report presents Utah as a state that completely contradicts your position. I'm not saying it proves you are wrong (hell, it's obvious that there's more to educational success than spending money).

But how did you misread that? Really, why do you continue to post things that are, at best, half-truths, and at worst complete misrepresentations of the facts?

Anonymous said...

916 & 923 (same person)
"I think 8:47 and retired teacher are the SAME person"
not necessarily. in case you havent noticed, more people on this blog are sympathetic to her positions than yours.

Anonymous said...

9:23
We are all getting tired of your rhetoric here.

You seem to be obsessed with "retired teacher".
She speaks for many of us here.

You are acting like Cheshire is not spending any money on education. The biggest chunk that comes out of the education budget is for teacher's salaries. Cheshire ranks in the top 20% in the state in teacher salaries.
If all those who want more money spent on education really care about this town, they would urge the teachers to give back a little. But I have a feeling that many of those who are writing on this blog are, in fact, teachers who try to spin it away from the elephant in the room. High teacher salaries.

You can talk all you want about spending per student, the key is where is the money being spent in that budget.

Anonymous said...

"Stop being greedy, your kids are not the most important group in this town. Don't like it, move. There are another 135 school districts in Cheshire that will gladly spend more of your money so your kid can score below the Top 15% in CT."

Well said and so very, very true.

Anonymous said...

9:23 We are all getting tired of your rhetoric here.
You seem to be obsessed with "retired teacher".
She speaks for many of us here.
many of those who are writing on this blog are, in fact, teachers who try to spin it away from the elephant in the room. High teacher salaries.


YES, AGREE. This was a huge reason the voters swept out the old council and BOE. Now they are doing what we want them to do, cut or slow this excessive spending.